Stepping Forward

I am going to get to the big step forward later but I am going to tell you a story first.

My step son is an artist. He qualified with a degree in Fine Art last year and to the best of my knowledge he is the only one of his contemporaries that is actually keeping body and soul together working in art. He works most of the week as a freelance artist’s technician and the rest working on his own art in a rented studio space. As you expect as a artist, living in London, he has no money.

At the hospital I was in in Aberdeen a local philanthropist had built a 1000 space multi-storey car park for the hospital. The hospital has 1000 beds so he had one parking space for visiting every patient. The parking is also free. His inspiration for the car park was when he wanted to visit a friend in hospital and could find nowhere to park.

When we were talking about this my step son commented that this was the flaw in philanthropy, it is all on the whim on the philanthropist and what else could that money have been spent on.

I counter argued that this was the strength of philanthropy. If more than one person had been involved in the decision process they probably would have argued that improving the public transport links would have alleviated the pressure on local parking and been more environmentally friendly.

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary is actually the main hospital for a massive swathe of rural Scotland and while the arguement for public transport is true, no public transport system can reach every tiny hamlet or cluster of houses and with the frequency to make visits to see patients viable.

I can see the point that if you don’t own a car, that better or free public transport would be attractive. I think that as soon as you get to the committee stage probably nothing would have ever happened at all for years.

The point of this story is that I have noticed that I am applying the same principle to Navigator RPG. By keeping it all to myself I can forge ahead without the possible delays in discussion. This is really selfish but when I do ask for help it is when I really don’t know what is the best solution.

The title of this post was Stepping Forward. So the big step forward last night was that I have working rules for stats, species (race), talents, cultures, skill costs and I have one fully working profession. It is now possible to go end to end and create a viable player character.

This weekend I will work on filling in more of the blanks, creating more cultures and completing more of the professions. Neither task is particularly exciting so I will mix that in with writing more of the core rules.

What I am building here is the RPG equivalent of one of these…

Everyone’s vision of a lego house, city or star port will be different but with one of these the only limit is imagination, and we are good at that.

3 Replies to “Stepping Forward”

  1. Well, that’s the Lego Millennium Falcon that I want and my wife won’t let me buy it. So that’s all I have to say about that. 🙁

    I think the approach you are using is effective, not so much as “…when I really don’t know what is the best solution.” but when you hit an obstacle or when you have too many forks in the road and don’t know which would be best. The input from other creative minds can help narrow some choices or help you to see some viable options. Would two or three more philanthropists have steered the first away from a parking garage and towards something entirely different? We won’t know because the single person made a single decision and quite honestly, it wasn’t because he wanted to give parking spaces for people, it was because he couldn’t find a parking spot for himself! While one can argue it was certainly philanthropic, it wasn’t altruistic. Had he found a parking space that day, there would be no garage today.

    As with the group adventure we worked on here, one person laid out the plot and the direction, the others jumped in with ideas. When there were too many options, one person chose the best path and the collective creativeness continued down that path. That’s a difficult thing to do sometimes; accepting comments/criticisms/input from outsiders on your creative project.

    For me, the part I fear the most, the part that physically makes me sick to my stomach is when I ask the players at the end of the session, or worse, at the end of the annual weekend game “So… what did you think? Are there any things you’d like to change? Do differently?”

    Yes, there was input and feedback. People wanted to do things differently or didn’t like the way some things were planned out. For the second annual weekend, we implemented those changes and they were all for the better and people enjoyed themselves more. It is difficult to hear from others, friends, very close friends, “This idea didn’t work. You should try that instead.” The collective creative group had better insight and it worked out better the next time around. The third annual game is coming up in a few months and I have to send out that dreaded e-mail again. “Soo…. what did you guys think about the changes we made last session? Anything we should change?”

    As with Peter’s Devil’s Staircase project, he’s accepted ideas and thoughts from me and from others and has implemented them and I’m flattered and honored that he took some ideas and worked them into his project, his creative work. I see Navigator growing and evolving just as the Group Adventure and Devil’s Staircase has. It should be a fun and entertaining trip!

  2. I always thought that creating cultures and professions would be the fun part about designing a system — but I’ve never designed one myself.

    1. I think that RPGs should be something like 90% setting and 10% rules.
      In that balance describing cultures becomes setting material. If you had a romanesque city state you could have different cultures for the ruling class, citizens and freed men. When you describe fighters you could have different templates of skills for centurions, auxiliaries, gladiators and body guards.

      Here the lists of skills tie directly into the setting you have just described. For the player they can then pick from a small set of cultures and then a template if they want to play a Roman.

      When you only have the core rules and you are trying to make a generic cosmopolitan template culture and a generic provincial planet culture, and so on it just becomes lists you have to point balance.

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